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This conversation is part of our digital series 'Political Partitions: Human Stories'.


A conversation between artist and social activist Salima Hashmi—who is also the daughter of renowned Progressive Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz—and Kavita Panjabi, a university teacher who has shared her love of Faiz’s poetry with her Comparative Literature students for several years now. Salima recounts personal anecdotes of her father, especially in relation to his experiences of the two partitions of 1947 and 1971, and reads his poems in Urdu. Kavita reads them in English translation and also highlights the lasting power of his poetry, discussing how it has cut through mainstream political hostilities and enabled South Asians to see the poignant human face of the partitions through his eyes. The idea is to try to understand Faiz and his poetry in relation to his times and to retrieve, however briefly, the values and passions that underlined his vision. Salima also shares some rare photographs of Faiz and his ethos to add a rich visual dimension to this conversation. Some of the poems discussed are 'Subh e azadi', 'Dhaka se wapsi par' and of course the much loved ‘Hum dekhenge’.

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